From the Superintendent

West Irondequoit CSD update from Aaron Johnson

January 5, 2021

Dear Families,

Earlier today the Rochester City School District announced a temporary shift to remote learning due to staffing. That created buzz in our community with many phone calls to our buildings. For us, monitoring our ability to adequately staff our schools began before the holidays and, as I mentioned in Tuesday’s communication, is continuing with our team developing proactive plans. This does NOT indicate a shift to remote learning for us but ensures that we are prepared, if necessary.

Based on research, in-person learning is optimal for a child's mental, social and academic health. Since March 2020, guidance has flowed to schools and been refined over time. It demonstrates that we can safely function with everyone back in our buildings. We know that consistent and proper masking works and that vaccinations prevent the most severe effects of COVID-19. Given these factors, we are committed to doing everything we can to preserve the continuity of in-person learning for the health and wellness of our children. To give us the best chance to fulfill that pledge, everyone must stay vigilant and remain masked except when physically distanced. Failure to mask jeopardizes yourself, peers and our staff.

What can potentially force a shift to remote learning is our inability to adequately provide coverage for absent staff. Staff absences are rising due to community spread and with a thin substitute pool, we must be prepared. Our team has been outstanding and flexible in covering for others, but we are limited. Our fantastic staff and administration continue to work throughout each night and into the morning to organize appropriate and safe coverage. Still, we know there may come a time when we can't. We're asking you to continue watching and listening to our communications if this becomes a reality.

If we reach the point when we cannot cover absences to provide safe supervision, we will move to remote and give you as much advanced notice as possible. This shift may include a specific building or buildings or K-12 altogether based on the circumstances. On Thursday, we will provide more specific details on what that proposed virtual learning could entail. Currently, our schools continue to be open for complete in-person learning.

In partnership,

Aaron R. Johnson, Ed. D

Superintendent of Schools